Where is Mother? The Role of the Maternal in Dementia Care

Monday 15th September

Where is Mother? The Role of the Maternal in Dementia Care
Esther Ramsay-Jones

Bollas, in his seminal paper ‘The Transformational Object’, focuses on how the mother provides a total environment, an envirosomatic situation that includes thinking and physical holding. Quoting Edith Jacobson, he claims that ‘… when a mother turns the infant on his belly, rocks him, strokes him, kisses him… she stimulates the development of functional ego activity.’ Here, mother takes up a role in the formation of mind. Drawing on infant observations and observations in a social care setting, this paper explores what, if anything, we can learn from maternal practice and subjectivity in the reverse process of someone falling out of mind? Is it possible that, through seeking out mother in the institutional context, we might help people with dementia and their professional carers to go-on-being?

About the Speaker

Esther Jones worked for several years in dementia care before re-training in psychodynamic counselling at Birkbeck. Recently, she has been awarded a studentship to carry out research in maternal subjectivity and dementia care. She also works as an honorary counsellor in a university setting, and is a mum of two young children.

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